body dysmorphic disorder
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) can worsen with age if left undiagnosed or untreated in the early teenage years.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) can worsen with age if not diagnosed and managed early.

BDD is a mental health condition in which a person becomes extra conscious about their perceived flaws and defects. A person with BDD constantly disapproves of the way they look and might need constant reassurance.

At times, the condition may affect your ability to function in your daily life. It often starts in the early teenage years where kids are constantly preoccupied with their looks. If left untreated, BDD can worsen with age.

With proper treatment, care and support, a person may recover from unwanted thoughts about their appearance. The treatment aims to reduce the effect of BDD and improve a person’s overall productivity and quality of life.

How does body dysmorphic disorder affect people?

People with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) are constantly worried about their appearance. Moreover, people with BDD may:

  • Find themselves ugly.
  • Avoid social situations.
  • Avoid family and friends.
  • Not going to work or school fearing that people might notice them.
  • Spend their time unnecessarily thinking about their perceived defects.
  • Attempt several plastic surgeries.
  • Experience several emotional distresses and harmful behaviors.

BDD tends to interfere with the person’s day-to-day life because of their constant concerns about not looking a certain way. People with BDD may find it difficult to focus on work or studies due to pervasive thoughts about not being good enough.

What areas of the body are people usually concerned about in body dysmorphic disorder?

People with body dysmorphic disorder are usually concerned about the following areas of their body:

  • Stomach or chest
  • Facial features, particularly the nose
  • Skin imperfections, including wrinkles, scars, acne, and blemishes
  • Hair, including head or body hair or baldness
  • Body odor
  • Buttocks
  • Thighs
  • Breasts
  • Muscles
  • Penis size

Is body dysmorphic disorder related to an eating disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) because people with BDD start to do ritualistic things such as looking into a mirror or constantly putting on makeup. Similarly, a person with OCD might be obsessed with a thought, resulting in them engaging in certain activities or routines.

Additionally, BDD is similar to an eating disorder, but the only difference is that people with an eating disorder are conscious about their weight and body shape, whereas people with BDD are worried about a specific part of the body. BDD, however, is a distinct entity and not a subtype of an eating disorder.

What causes body dysmorphic disorder?

Experts aren’t sure about the exact cause of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). Problems with certain neurotransmitters can lead to BDD. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions are also risk factors.

Certain risk factors can increase the probability of developing BDD, which include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Experience of traumatic events
  • Bitter life experiences
  • A family history of BDD
  • Personality type
  • Peer pressure and pressure from the society
  • Parents who constantly criticize their children’s appearance

Symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder

Some signs that can indicate body dysmorphic disorder and help identify the disorder at an early stage include:

  • Being constantly preoccupied with flaws or defects in appearance that cannot be seen by others
  • Avoiding social situations and spending time with family and friends
  • Constantly seeking reassurance from family members
  • Constantly comparing your appearance with others
  • Being uncomfortable in your original look
  • Engaging in time-consuming behaviors such as looking in the mirror, picking at the skin, and trying to hide flaws
  • Completely avoiding mirrors

Treatment of body dysmorphic disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) can be treated with talk therapy or medicines. A combination of talk therapy or medicine is more effective in treating BDD than either alone. 

Additionally, family support is essential along with treatment. Family members should learn about BDD and recognize signs and symptoms.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/29/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9888-body-dysmorphic-disorder

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353938

https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/b/body-dysmorphic-disorder.html